Celebrity bipolar epidemic could be due to ‘energy and creativity’

Mental health author suggests that creative people could be more susceptible to bipolar disorder

Catherine Zeta-Jones is the most recent high profile celebrity to complain of suffering from Bipolar Disorder.

She joins household names like Stephen Fry, Sting, Adam Ant and Kurt Cobain who have all been known to suffer from the condition.

Clinical psychologists throughout Britain report a huge increase in the number of people who are requesting help because they believe they are suffering from bipolar. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that the disorder affects one in every 100 people at some point in their lives.

“Celebrity could itself be considered a mental illness – delusions of grandeur and a paranoia that prompts people to wear sunglasses at night,” said Robert Ashton, author of I know somebody like that and mental health campaigner.

The temptation is to think that this is due to the increased publicity for the disorder but there may be a link with creativity. In his BBC programme The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive Stephen Fry said that he ‘loved’ having the disorder because it provided ‘the energy and creativity that perhaps has made my career’.

“Our mood is like the pendulum inside a grandfather clock. Normally, it goes tick tock with boring regularity, but shake the clock and the pendulum will swing wildly, bang against the case and cause the clock to become inaccurate and unreliable. We all get shaken from time to time and bi-polar disorder is how some diagnose what they consider to be the wild swinging that causes a loud knocking noise inside our body (the clock case); the brighter the ‘clock’ the narrower the case and the sooner it’ll start knocking if you shake it” said Robert Ashton.


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